Death is Part of the Cycle of Life

Day of the Dead

Photo by Susan Wilson

Day of the Dead is one of Mexico’s most important national holidays. Though often compared to our Halloween—a lighthearted night for kids, spooky costumes, and trick-or-treating—Day of the Dead is instead a deep, rich, cultural and spiritual celebration of life that engages people of all ages.

Falling on November 1 and 2—the Roman Catholic All Saints and All Souls Days—Día de los Muertos is both a heartfelt homage to ancestors and a community-centered event.

Day of the Dead

For many Mexicans, death is seen as part of the cycle of life—something that people accept, face, embrace, and even laugh about. In addition, many believe that the World of the Living and the World of the Dead live side-by-side. Once a year, when those two worlds are closer than ever, the dead are invited back to visit. And that time is called Día de los Muertos.


In order to draw spirits of their ancestors home, Mexican families create a welcoming and familiar environment. They prepare and purchase special Day of the Dead foods, candies, crafts, and flowers, make home altars (ofrendas), and flock to local cemeteries to clean, repair, and decorate family gravesites and tombs. Among the iconic images that accompany these rituals are the calaveras, fanciful and cartoonish skeletons dressed in human attire, doing all-too human things.

Check out Melodic Vision's award-winning video about the Day of the Dead.


See more Melodic Vision videos here.

All photos © Susan Wilson

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